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More People Are Giving up U.S. Citizenship

February 9, 2016
Plain English Version
 Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get to Europe and America. They are fleeing violence and terror in their own countries. Some come from the Middle East; some come from Africa and some from Central America.

A few thousand are leaving the United States. They are renouncing their American citizenship. Other long time residents are turning in their green cards. They are not fleeing danger. They are fleeing enforcement of U.S. tax laws.

Last year, nearly 730,000 people became U.S. citizens. In about the same period, 4,279 people ended their ties with the U.S. The number of those leaving keeps rising. One expert said the reason is that following U.S. tax laws is not worth the effort for some.

Those tax laws are targeting people with offshore accounts. In the last few years, the U.S. has collected more than $13.5 billion in taxes and penalties from people with offshore accounts.

The U.S. is also going after taxes on income Americans earn overseas. The U.S. is one of the few countries that pursues these funds. About 7 million people are affected.

Many people do not evade the law on purpose. It is very complex to file taxes on these earnings. Even so, they are fined thousands of dollars for non-compliance.

New laws make foreign banks report the income of their U.S. customers. This reporting is adding to the difficulty faced by taxpayers.

The government does not tell us very much about who is leaving the country. It discloses only their names. It does not say how many are turning in their passports and how many are turning in their green cards. It does not reveal their nationalities.

Some of these people simply do not want to pay taxes. Others are

 Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

tired of the red tape.

Source: The Wall Street Journal February 5, 2016

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